I caught up with London based folk-pop duo Toby & Pip to discuss musical influences, achievements and what’s in store for the rest of 2021. I also caught up recently to chat about ‘What It’s Like to be Pregnant in a Pandemic’ over on Quite Great’s YouTube channel.
- Welcome, Toby & Pip. How are you both keeping during these strange times?
T: We’re doing alright thanks, it’s been a crazy year & one that’s taken some adjusting to. It’s been tough in many ways but there have been a lot of positives for us as a couple – we had a lot more time together which allowed us to focus more on our music, we also had our second child in September which was very exciting & releasing our first three singles was a big highlight! But not being able to play any live shows, work drying up & being separated from friends & family has been difficult.
P: Yes, having a toddler & baby at home has been challenging! But we do try to always focus on the positives – I was able to work from home for my job last year and we’ve done loads of work on our music. We’ve tried to be really mindful of adapting to the challenges of life in the pandemic – we have a weekly online boardgames night with friends, a home date night once a week, Toby plays online poker with friends on Fridays & we’ve been sharing parenting duties & looking out for one another.
- Loving the new single ‘New Year’, what’s the story behind the track?
T: Thank you! It’s a song about spending New Year’s Eve with the one you love. I wrote it after we went to a wedding of some good friends a few years ago – they got married on New Year’s Eve & I thought that was cool & I got to thinking about how Pip & I had seen in the New Year together, either alone or with friends ever since we met (11 years ago now!). It made me think about the people we were when we met & how we had changed & how change is positive but it’s also good to some constants & celebrate things. I also thought it interesting that everyone makes Christmas songs, but there’s not a lot of New Year’s Eve songs & I like to be a bit different! haha.
P: I love all things about the Christmas/festive period. I love the lights, the music, the joy of being with friends and family (though I do make sure I don’t start too early….never before December!). It’s obviously been very different this year but that makes the meaning behind the song ring even more true to me – a love song about seeing each new year in together, through good times and bad.
3. If you could pick three, would you say are your biggest musical influences?
T: I have so many but if I had to pick three they would be Sister Hazel, John Mayer & Jason Mraz – artists not particularly famous in the UK, but as a teenager with the internet I discovered a lot of American Folk/Rock/Pop artists & bands that I listened to growing up & that got me into playing guitar & songwriting.
P:I come from a classical music background, but have always loved a variety of music (I used to record the chart on my tape player from the radio each week!). I’ve always loved exploring new music and when I met Toby he introduced me to a whole world of music I didn’t know much of – I really loved his musical tastes & loved his songwriting & together we really love bands like Fleetwood Mac, The Shires & Oh Wonder! so would say those have been big influences for us.
4. How would you describe your sound to a stranger?
T: I’d go with ‘Melodic catchy folk-pop’
P: Yeah I’d say it’s ‘singer-songwriter pop’
5. What’s been your best (or favourite) musical achievement to date?
P: For me I’d say playing Bush Hall in London to a packed house when we supported Philippa Hanna – that was our biggest audience to date & was a really great show.
T: Yeah, I’d agree – I also really enjoyed our last gig we did before the pandemic at the start of 2020 at the Dublin Castle in Camden.
6. What’s in store for the rest of 2021?
P: Well, we’ve got a few new songs we’re in the process of recording & so we are excited to be releasing more music!
T: Yeah we are really excited about that, we’ve got lots of material which is cool. Hopefully we will be able to play some live shows soon & we’d love to play a festival or two if we can! But we will have to see how things go…